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Category: Gift Giving

Good Secret Santa Gifts to Ask for When You Can’t Think of Anything

Good Secret Santa Gifts to Ask for When You Can’t Think of Anything

There are two very, very simple questions that always leave me stumped: 1) What kind of music do you like; and 2) what do you want for Christmas/birthday/etc.? I listen to music all day, dozens of albums a week, and have deep opinions on all of them, but can never remember a single one when asked. Similarly, there are a lot of things I know I want, but when it comes to making a list for Secret Santa, I draw…

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How to Use a Pick Names Out of a Hat App

How to Use a Pick Names Out of a Hat App

As a lifelong Chicagoan, I have a lot of baseball hats that I’ve been wearing for a long time, showing off my love for the White Sox. I have hats I’ve been playing softball in for years. Running hats. Hats for just lounging on the deck and grilling in the heat of a sweltering August. You know what I don’t have a hat for? Reaching your hand in to pick names for a gift exchange. I mean, granted, any of…

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Secret Santa for Virtual Teams: Tips and Tricks

Secret Santa for Virtual Teams: Tips and Tricks

Before my office transitioned to all of us working remotely, we were planning our annual summer party. Each year, it’s always featured a competitive kickball game and a Secret Santa gift exchange—playing off the “Christmas in July” theme. Needless to say, this being 2020, our normal party isn’t going to happen. While there won’t be a chance to defend our kickball championship title, my team will still be able to participate in a Secret Santa for virtual teams.  As we…

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The Benefits of a Birthday Wish List App

The Benefits of a Birthday Wish List App

It always seems a little unfair that your birthday is only 24 hours long, doesn’t it? You wait a whole year for it, and even if you act all nonchalant, you know it’s coming. You’re waiting for it. And then by noon, it’s already half over! There should be a law making it at least 26 hours!  Well, even if they don’t pass that very reasonable and common-sense solution, you can still pack a lot into one day. You can…

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7 Great Secret Santa Gifts for the Boss

7 Great Secret Santa Gifts for the Boss

All right—Secret Santa time at the office! You’ve entered your name in the Secret Santa generator and are ready to see who you’re paired with this year. Will it be your friend in accounting? Your favorite lunch buddy? Or the new woman, who you’d love to get to know better? Oh, the endless exciting possibilities!  Oh, wait—you got your boss. Well, might as well quit and find a new job.  Okay, so you don’t have to be that dramatic, but…

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What Makes for a Good Wish List Creator?

What Makes for a Good Wish List Creator?

“Make a wish!”  That’s probably the most common line in fairy tales. But there’s something kind of weird about it…since the most exciting part of the story is when a wish actually comes true, we never expect them to. As fun as wishes are, they almost seem to contain their own nearly-assured disappointments.  But they don’t have to. If you’re holding a gift exchange, and you let people make a wish using the best wish list creators, they will almost…

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Small Secret Santa Gift Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Gift Exchange

Small Secret Santa Gift Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Gift Exchange

While many remember the pink piggy banks we had as children, I recall a big white elephant bank with a blue suit and a yellow cap. Not your traditional piggy bank, but I treasure it because my Mom made it in a ceramics class.  Today’s children may or may not know what it means to drop coins into the slot of an old-fashioned piggy bank, but there are still reasons to keep an eye on your spending. Maybe you have…

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7 Good Secret Santa Joke Gifts

7 Good Secret Santa Joke Gifts

I think the strangest thing about being an adult has been, rather unexpectedly, becoming a Socks Guy. I’ve taken to coordinating my outfits with my socks, and while there’s nothing too outlandish, it’s still something I think about. My wife is as surprised as I am. Where socks might have once been a joke gift, now they’re something I cherish.  That’s the thing about giving gifts. You can give someone something goofy and silly but also meaningful to them. You…

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How to Find Secret Santa Gifts Everyone Wants

How to Find Secret Santa Gifts Everyone Wants

When I was a kid and beginning to buy presents on my own, it was easy to get gifts for my dad. He loved collecting old bottle openers, so I’d find them at local flea markets or antique shops. He eventually amassed a sizable collection of these kind-of-rusty antiques. I was proud that most of them were from me… until I realized that they were all from me.  That’s right; he didn’t collect them. He had maybe one, I got…

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Useful Wish List Ideas for Guys

Useful Wish List Ideas for Guys

Have you ever started this conversation with the guy in your life? “What do you want for your birthday?” Of course you have. The answer—for this or any special occasion—is almost inevitably, “I don’t know. Nothing? Yeah, whatever is good. Shoes? I think I need shoes.”  It’s… well, maddening for one thing. But for another thing, it’s never accurate. Guys, like everyone else, always want something. It’s just that they: Don’t want to admit they want something. Don’t want to…

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How to Figure out What to Buy for a Gift Exchange

How to Figure out What to Buy for a Gift Exchange

I love giving people presents. When you pick the right present, it isn’t about buying. It isn’t about the person getting a “thing.” It’s about them being seen. Picking the right gift is a signal that you truly care about a person.  But when you’re in a Secret Santa, knowing what to buy for a gift exchange can be tricky. You may be extremely close to them, or you may not really know them at all. They could be coworkers,…

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7 Secret Santa Yoga Gifts for the Yogi in Your Life

7 Secret Santa Yoga Gifts for the Yogi in Your Life

One of the cool things about getting older is seeing things change. The other day, my wife and I were having sushi, and I thought about how so many comedies from the 80s had sushi as a signifier of laughable snobbery. Now that’s unimaginable. We scarf it down while watching football. It’s a normal (and delicious) thing to eat.  It’s the same with yoga. Not too long ago, people thought yoga was weird and just for crunchy granola types. That…

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7 Secret Santa Gifts Under $20 that Anyone will Love

7 Secret Santa Gifts Under $20 that Anyone will Love

Just about everyone who has run a Secret Santa has had a variation of this conversation:  “Want to do a Secret Santa?” “Heck yes! I love those. Just… is there a, um… ” “Price limit?” “Yes!”  A lot of Secret Santa exchanges have a price limit of some sort. We’ve had ones that are as low as $10 and others that go significantly higher. It makes sense. You don’t want to overspend, and you don’t want to seem cheap. Maybe…

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School Leaders Make Kindness Count for Summer Gift Exchange

School Leaders Make Kindness Count for Summer Gift Exchange

Show of hands — who was afraid of the “big, bad Principal” when you were a kid? Growing up, I think we all had an innate fear of being sent to the dreaded Principal’s Office (and even worse, being singled out over the loudspeaker for our misdeeds in the process). Like a scene straight out of the classic tale of The Principal from the Black Lagoon, we contemplated horrifying rumors about the “monster” behind that office door. Just saying, but I think…

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Popular Podcast Fans Host True Crime Book Exchange

Popular Podcast Fans Host True Crime Book Exchange

Every True Crime Has A Story To Tell Professor Plum. In the Conservatory. With the Candlestick. Or was it Miss Scarlet who may have had a motive? Hmm. When we were kids, my siblings and I always loved to gather around our kitchen table for family game night, which most of the time meant breaking out one of our favorite board games — Classic Clue. After all, what kid doesn’t love to solve a great murder mystery? We all loved…

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UK Artisans Host Gift Exchange to Support Colorful Community

UK Artisans Host Gift Exchange to Support Colorful Community

When you love what you do, you bring out the best in yourself. And by putting your best self forward and standing out from the crowd, you can inspire the world. Throw in a spark of creativity, a splash of color, a whole lot of Girl Power, and the world will listen. Colorful. Bold. Playful. Driven. Each and every day, independent artists, makers and designers learn to cast aside inner doubt and insecurities to bring their cutting edge style and…

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How To Be Happy During The Christmas Holidays

How To Be Happy During The Christmas Holidays

Putting the “Me” Back in Merry: 15 Self-Serve Holiday Hacks What have you done for you lately? Don’t worry, Elfster is here to help. Somewhere between the age of childlike wonder, and getting all excited about car insurance, the holiday ritual loses its luster of revolving completely around you. We’ve all watched this scene play out: One day, Little Starry-Eyed You outgrows your finest pair of footie pajamas, and what happens next? The grown-ups suddenly buck! At the first sign of…

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10 Secret Santa Strategies To Keep Your Giftee Guessing

10 Secret Santa Strategies To Keep Your Giftee Guessing

Playing dirty? Perhaps. Totally worth it? Oh, yeah! So you think Secret Santa is just a quaint little yuletide pastime, something akin to fireside chats and a merry jaunt around the mall in a tiny Victorian train? Don’t fall into the trap, folks. Secret Santa is, and always will be, a GAME. That’s right, a GAME. And in games, as in life, there are winners and there are losers in this game of strategy. A Riddle: At the end of…

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Fall Hostess Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back

Fall Hostess Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back

The weather is getting crisp and the days are getting shorter. It’s time for the new school year, new football season and Halloween. With all of the social gatherings on the calendar this time of year, we’ve rounded up some ideas for what to bring the host or hostess to make sure you get invited back year after year! Tailgate Supplies It’s football season, and that means it’s tailgating time! Don’t show up empty-handed to your next big tailgate. Instead…

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Useful Gifts For College Students: Creating the Ultimate Care Package

Useful Gifts For College Students: Creating the Ultimate Care Package

While it might not be as exciting to focus on useful gifts for college students over entertaining ones, in the long run, your college student will thank you. After all, when college students are off on their own for the first time, they’ll likely forget about those little things that used to be available as needed, like salt and pepper shakers or a fridge to hold perishables. Parents who don’t want their kids living off Ramen for the next four…

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How to Beat the Summer’s Almost Over Blues

How to Beat the Summer’s Almost Over Blues

Summer is not over yet, there’s still a few weeks left to lounge in your unicorn pool float or spend the day munching on nothing but ice cream and rosé. Enjoy every moment you can of these last few weeks, but know that the end is in sight. To ease the pain we all feel this time of year, we’ve come up with a few ways to beat the summer’s (almost) over blues. Plan a Staycation Vacations are an amazing…

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The Art Of Japanese Gift Giving

The Art Of Japanese Gift Giving

I met my husband while teaching English in Japan many years ago. Last summer, we took our sons to Tokyo and Kyoto to see the country we’d fallen in love with. Before we’d even left Shinjuku Station, my boys were fascinated by the world’s greatest vending machines—and the mountains of beautifully wrapped treats and souvenirs on display at every train station and department store. The gorgeous boxes made even simple mochi treats seem like something special. The Etiquette of Japanese…

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Gift Ideas for a Long-Distance Relationship: So Close Yet So Far Away

Gift Ideas for a Long-Distance Relationship: So Close Yet So Far Away

Any couple who has tried it knows how challenging long-distance relationships can be, and sharing thoughtful presents is a good way to keep the spark alive. Some of my best gift ideas for a long-distance relationship occurred when I was in the military. It used to take a lot to keep my relationship going with my significant other, and I was constantly looking for clever ways to stay connected. I wanted to find a way to not just tell him…

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Summer Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

Summer Wedding Anniversary Gift Ideas

It’s wedding season and for many of us, that also means it’s anniversary season. It’s time to celebrate the one you cherish most and show them how much you care, today and everyday. For many of us anniversaries can creep up, so plan ahead, set a yearly reminder in that calendar and make this time of year a time you focus on you and your special someone. From a once-in-a-lifetime hot air balloon ride to a personalized game with your…

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